‘The Crown’: The Truth of Diana and Dodi’s “Engagement”

‘The Crown’: The Truth of Diana and Dodi’s “Engagement”

The ring did not mean a thing as far as Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Dodi (Khalid Abdalla) were concerned. On the third episode of season six of The Crown, titled “Dis-Moi Oui,” Dodi Fayed gets down on one knee and pops the questions to a very frustrated Princess Diana, mere hours before their fatal car accident. On a new episode of Still Watching, Vanity Fair Hollywood correspondent Julie Miller drops by the podcast to discuss the alleged engagement, the controversy surrounding the ring, and the man whom many believe was Diana’s one true love.

Miller, who’s been writing about The Crown for VF since the series began in 2016, launched into the controversy surrounding Dodi and Diana’s alleged engagement, which persisted long after Diana and Dodi died in a fatal car accident on August 31, 1997.  While Diana probably would not have been surprised to receive an engagement ring from Dodi, given his penchant for buying her expensive gifts, she certainly wasn’t looking to get married again—and especially not to him. 

“She sort of made an offhand comment to one friend that if she were to get a ring that would go firmly on her fourth finger on her right hand, meaning she would not be engaged,” said Miller. “She needed another marriage like she needed a rash in the face.”

As for the “Dis-Moi Oui” ring itself, Miller pointed out that it was not as expensive as the ring Dodi had bought his pre-Diana fiancée, Kelly Fisher, leading many to believe that it wasn’t intended to be an engagement ring. “Dodi had given Kelly Fisher this $200,000 beautiful diamond,” Miller said. “Mohamed [Al-Fayed] was so focused on aligning himself publicly with the royal family and he was very sort of garish in his displays of money. The theory is if this was going to be Diana’s ring and photographed by every media outlet in the world, he would never just present her with this approximately $11,000 ring.” 

Still, after the couple’s tragic death, Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw) maintained that the two were engaged and became a chief conspiracy theorist against the royal family. “There was so much controversy around the ring itself and whether or not Diana and Dodi were engaged, which it seems like they weren’t. Mohamed Al-Fayed’s spokesperson claimed they were,” said Miller. She went on to explain Al-Fayed’s version of events, which involved Dodi and Diana picking out the ring together. “During the inquest it was found out that Dodi spent seven minutes in a jewelry store in Paris, had planned to give the ring later on,” said Miller. “I was interested that Peter Morgan sort of went with Mohamed Al-Fayed’s version of events in terms of window shopping, picking out the engagement ring.”

When asked whether royals experts believe that Diana had an actual true love, Miller had one answer: cardiovascular surgeon Hasnat Khan. “He was the only paramour of hers that stayed loyal to her in the end,” said Miller. “He never spoke out about her, or gave any sort of interviews. He reportedly couldn’t stand the spotlight of being with Diana…but I like to believe that she had a true love.”

For more on Diana, Dodi, and their alleged engagement, you can listen to the full breakdown of “Dis-Moi Oui” below. And as always, send questions and comments and musings about The Crown season six part one to Still Watching at stillwatchingpod@gmail.com.

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